It’s Monday, what are you reading? (5/16/22)

My May is full of reading commitments and I’ve been reliably consistent in getting the books read that I’m committed to writing a review. Luckily they have all been excellent and easy to read. Whew! Nothing worse than choosing a book that you don’t feel like reading. I’ve caught the dreaded Covid virus and have been out with a severe cold for a few days now and have been binging shows on Netflix because of brain fog. Thank goodness I was reading ahead! Here is what I’ve had on my nightstand (besides a wad of kleenex and cold medicine!).

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This author is still writing these stand alone (but really in a series) novels about these ladies living in Larchmont Village, one of the hidden pockets of loveliness in LA. I really enjoy Abbi Waxman’s quirky writing style and witty dialog. One of my favorite characters, Clare, a little girl with an amazing mind, shows up in this novel and adds just the right note of humor when needed. I hope at some point Clare grows up and gets her own novel because that child is a trip!

I think this cover drew me in. I haven’t read a mystery in a while but this synopsis sounds gripping. It’s the third book in a series that I haven’t read but I’m not really worried about missing out and am in fact hoping that I’ll love the characters and want to go back and start from the beginning.

What books have caught your attention this week? Feel free to share in the comments.

Happy reading and happy Monday!

Deb

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (5/9/22)

I hope everyone had a great weekend and spent a little bit of time gearing yourself up for the next work week. I spent the weekend visiting with my mom, as it’s Mother’s Day in the U.S. and I’m fortunate enough to live close. Despite the weather, holiday, and a fun crafts fair in our fun city, I did find a little bit of time to finish a book as well as pick up a new one. Here’s what I’ve been reading.

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Set in the 1950’s and in a bookstore in England, this book follows three women who work in that store and how each navigate a world in which men have all the control. I am a big fan of traveling through history by reading a great fiction novel and I thought this one was really good and their journey translates well to some things going on today.

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I bought this novel when it came out but got distracted away from reading it. I love Penny Reid novels. Her characters are quirky and her voice genuine. The story is off to a great start!

What books are you reading this week? Are you eagerly anticipating an evening at home on the couch finishing your book?

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (5/2/22)

Happy May everyone! This is the month where so many great books are coming out and I have once again over-asked for ARC’s. I’ve been trying to read ahead but at the same time read for pleasure. I only ask for books I’m looking forward to reading (with a surprise thrown in everyone once in awhile) so it’s tough to choose what’s already on my kindle. I am thrilled that I got a copy of Ilona Andrews upcoming release and despite it not coming out until August, I went ahead and picked it up last night. Let’s get to it!

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A debut novel by Carley Fortune, Every Summer After hit all of my hot buttons, making it the perfect beach read. If only I’d been on a beach! Seriously good with a lake setting, this romance made me feel EVERYTHING. I loved it!

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I literally just started this so don’t really have an opinion yet, but this is one of my favorite writing teams so I’m sure I’m going to enjoy it!

Are you reading a favorite author right now? Who is it? Let me know if it’s a great book.

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chicks TBT: A book signing with Mariana Zapata and Inn Boonsboro

In looking back over some of my older posts I came upon a trip my sister and I took to Maryland. This trip was centered completely on a book signing Mariana Zapata, one of my favorite romance authors was doing at the Inn Boonsboro, owned by Nora Roberts- also a favorite romance author. At the time, Mariana (I can call her that since we met in person) had just released her novel From Lukov With Love. Even four years later that novel is one of my favorites and at this point I’ve read it multiple times. We had a private meeting with only 15-20 other readers and got to spend one on one time with this author. An experience I will not ever forget. For those of you who haven’t read it, I’ve copied and pasted my post below.

This was posted on 4/15/2018-

A few weeks ago I received a text from my sister saying that she’d put us on a waiting list for an exclusive meet and greet with Mariana Zapata at the Inn Boonsboro in Maryland.  Someone had dropped out and there was one room available. Did I want to take a few days off from work and go? I had just finished Mariana Zapata’s newest novel From Lukov With Love and loved it so I really didn’t have to think that hard. Umm, yeah!  Let’s do it!  This was a twofer! To get the chance to meet with one of my favorite authors and also stay in Nora Roberts Inn Boonsboro? What a treat!

Inn Logo

The Inn Boonsboro is only a little over an hour’s drive from Baltimore, the airport we flew into. On our arrival, we were given a tour of the Inn. A small library filled with bookshelves full of fiction and a couple of arm chairs in front of a fireplace was right around the corner from our room. I knew I was going to be making myself comfortable as there was also a Keurig in the corner where I could make coffee, tea or hot chocolate while looking at all the books on the shelves. There was also a small dining room, with delicious cookies on display, as well as a parlor where we were told our book event with Ms. Zapata would be taking place in another hour. When we were led to our room, we passed themed rooms with plaques identifying which romantic couple that room’s theme portrayed. My sister and I were placed in Eve and Roarke! As a huge fan of J. D. Robb’s In Death series I was thrilled at the decor, a mix of modern and historical pieces really gave it a unique vibe. The picture below shows the outside of the Inn that evening and our room before we totally wrecked the space with our stuff.

Inn Eve & Roarke

I noticed on the desk in the corner a notebook and curious, I opened it up. It was for guests to sign the page and to write their thoughts about their stay in that room. Look who wrote in the first page!

Nora signed

Later that evening I peeked into a couple of the other rooms and took quick photo’s, just so you could see how the themes were so different from each other and really lovely! They spared no expense in the creation of this Inn.

Inn rooms

To see more details about the Inn Boonsboro as well as their upcoming author events titled A Novel Adventure please click on this link to go to their website. Inn Boonsboro

Next up is YA author Cambria Hebert on 6/18. If you live in the area or are a short plane ride away, I really recommend this experience!

Mariana logoMariana Zapata is the author of multiple best selling novels such as Wait For It, Kulti, The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, etc.

At 5pm we were told to gather in the parlor for a two hour cocktail and conversation with Mariana Zapata. I brought my copy of Kulti and my sister had her copy of From Lukov with Love and we entered the parlor, not really sure what to expect. There were drinks, appetizers and a few desserts and only a few people. We saw Michelle, one of the Innkeeper’s and asked her how many people she expected and she said 13 in total. My sister and I looked at each other in shock. Wow! This really was exclusive! Mariana and her assistant Eva were the last two to arrive and the rest of us ladies were seated in chairs around the room.

My first thought was how Mariana was so sweet and young! She was small in stature, but she was outgoing, waving at everyone and asking how we were all doing. She had a purple (kind of orchid in color) rinse on her hair and started up conversation with the people on that end of the room. We were told that she’d sign our novels first and then we’d spend the rest of the time asking questions and she’d answer them willingly. As she signed our books she chatted briefly about where we were from and really I think I talked more about myself, forgetting to ask her any questions! LOL. My sister and I asked if we could have our photo taken, see below!

Mariana and us
Mariana signing

After she finished signing all of our books she sat on an ottoman across from where my sister and I as well as a few other ladies were sitting and naturally started answering our questions. I will admit, I did not take notes, however my sister helped me recreate the questions and conversations and I will try to be as detailed as possible without too much embellishment. (Please take note, this is not a verbatim conversation.)

Q: Where do you get your inspiration with books? For Kulti, her inspiration came from watching a women’s soccer game, for Wait For It she was inspired by American History X, and Sons of Anarchy for Under Locke. Her husband is a musician and Rhythm and Chord was easy for her to write because of that. The group chimed in about Eli and Mason from Rhythm and Chord saying they’d love for them to have their own stories, but Mariana was pretty firm about not wanting to write another book about a guy in a band. I asked her about what inspired her to write Lingus, as romance novel about a porn star. She said she was watching a documentary about people who go to porn conventions and how normal they all looked. The idea intrigued her. Would writing a romance novel about a porn star work?

We also talked about the popularity of Alpha Males in some other authors books. She said she liked an Alpha Male but didn’t want to always write about one. It was really important for her to have each of the men in her novels be different from each other.They were all strong characters, but individual as well.

Q: Why didn’t people react well to her novel Dear Aaron? (If you haven’t read Dear Aaron most of the book is told by letters or emails between the two main characters, Ruby and Aaron). She thought it was because Ruby was not as in your face as Sal from Kulti and Diana from Wait For It. Ruby had her own strength but it was quieter. She still grew as a character, but for some reason readers just didn’t connect as much, she didn’t really understand it.

Q: I bet you hear this all of the time but I have to ask about the Toolbox in Wait For It. Why didn’t you ever resolve that part of the story in the book? Mariana seemed a little confused. She said she felt like she had resolved Dallas’s reaction. (The toolbox was her dead brother Rodrigo’s and her friend Vanessa painted it pink with flowers on it.) She said Dallas was upset when he saw the toolbox because he felt she should have someone who could fix things for her, but he wasn’t in the place where he could be that man for her, yet.

Q: When did Ivan and Jasmine in From Lukov with Love actually fall in love? Mariana actually never answered this question. She said she likes her readers to get what they need from a novel and she doesn’t like to spell things out for them. I mentioned to her that I felt like they fell in love after they became skating partners, but that my sister felt like Ivan had always loved Jasmine and was just waiting for his chance. It’s interesting how reading is so subjective and we can all get something different out of reading the same book. She nodded, seeming pleased at our reactions.

Q: Do you have a writing schedule? She said that yes, she does, but she learned pretty early on that she had to make sure she had a life. Make time to make dinner and eat with her husband, work out, etc. When asked about her next book, she didn’t give a whole lot of details other than that she liked to alternate between fun and serious books. She said Dear Aaron was a fun book, although people didn’t seem to agree. My sister and I tried to map out her books and we think it’s one funny to two serious? If that’s the case, the next one may be a serious novel because Lukov was serious.

Q: How did you start writing slow burn novels? She said that she finds the relationship much more interesting than the sex. If she reads a novel where the characters jump into bed too soon she ends up skimming those scenes and loses interest a bit. How they get to that point is so much more interesting isn’t it?

There were so many other topics of conversation but you can see from the above conversations that they ran the gamut of all of her novels as well as a little bit about her writing habits. She was charming and entertaining and very honest. This was an experience that I won’t forget and will hopefully be able to have again. I’ll be keeping an eye on the Inn Boonsboro’s website for future guests! Here is a group photo- you can see how small the group was!

Group

Oh, one last thing! Did I mention that Nora Roberts lives close by and her husband owns Turn The Page Bookstore across from the Inn? Here are a few photo’s of the bookstore and the Nora Roberts/JD Robb room inside.

bookstore
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This was a fun one!

Until next Sunday,

Deb

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (4/18/22)

Happy Monday! If Easter is a holiday you celebrate, I hope you had a nice day yesterday celebrating with your family. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, and not as much time reading. Looking forward to the some books I need to review in May I decided to get a head start with an author I just love. I’ll tell you a little bit more about that below. I also picked up a book that I haven’t read in quite a few years enjoying not quite remembering the plot. Here are the books I’ve spent time reading.

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This book is a compilation of short stories that Faith Hunter released in various newsletters and short story novels. I was surprised to find that I hadn’t read any of these before and enjoyed quite a few! If you haven’t read the Jane Yellowrock series I think you’d be totally lost, but this author does write a good story so maybe you’d like her shorts too.

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It’s probably been 7 years since I’ve picked up this book in the Ghosts and Reincarnation series by Kristen Ashley. One of this author’s earlier novels, I was surprised to find out that the romance scenes were cut to dark and not very descriptive, which I’ll admit was kind of refreshing. The characters are early iterations of the surly Alpha and heroine in jeopardy that we’ve come to expect from this author. I’m having a bit of trouble liking the story though.

Do you have an awesome novel you want to share? I’d love to hear it! Please let me know in the comments.

Happy Monday!

Deb

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (4/11/22)

After my 55 hours of listening to The Fiery Cross, Diana Gabaldon’s fifth book in the Outlander series, I wanted to listen to something fun, lighthearted and quick. My book choices are always completely reliant upon mood unless I have an ARC commitment. I have one of those too and it’s a book that is totally different than what I’ve been reading lately. I hope I like it!

Thanks again to Book Date who started this discussion and asked book bloggers to join the conversation!

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From the same author who wrote one of my favorite romances last year, The Love Hypothesis, she continues her women of STEM novels with a few novellas. This was an enemies to lovers romance, one of my favorite tropes and while I wished it had been a full length novel I thought it was fun.

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This novel is a complete departure from my normal genre. A heist novel with some great characters it has started off quick and is pretty easy to follow. The one hang-up for me is that it’s from every characters point of view. That’s a lot of pov’s!

Give me a shout and let me know what books you’re reading right now!

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (4/4/22)

My sister has brought up this fantasy series on Kindle Unlimited multiple times. She only recommends books if they were really good and I made the mistake of starting book #1 last Thursday and boy did I get sucked in! So I’ve spent all my free time reading this series this weekend. I’m on the last book in the series, immediately picking up the next when I finished the previous book. I both love and hate finding great new authors like this. Love it because she has a lot of books I can read, but hate it because I forget about all my other obligations and only want to spend my time reading. I’m going to list the first and second books below if you’re interested.

Thanks again to The Book Date for opening this conversation to book bloggers to talk about the books they read over the last week. It’s a fun conversation, join in!

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This fantasy novel series is fast paced with an underdog heroine. Arrow has been rejected by her people, treated horribly, but is the strongest War Mage her people have seen in over a century. This series shows Arrow fighting for peace between the Taellaneth, humans, and shifkin. There’s a lot of action, great character development, and world building. Be prepared to want to read all of them at one time1

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Book #5 is the last one in the series, whew! What a fabulous series! I’ve stayed up late reading every night and have been hooked in by these characters and Arrow in particular. It’s been great to see her growth into a woman who has confidence. She has come a long way. If you love fantasy novels you need to read this series. Seriously good.

This is what I’ve been reading for the last few days. Are there any books you’ve gotten hooked by?

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (3/28/22)

If you’re an avid reader like I am you will fit in time for reading despite having a busy schedule. This week was a performance week which tightened up my schedule even more but I found time to read some light and fun novels. Let’s jump right to it!

Thanks again to Kathryn from Book Date who started this fun conversation and allows us to share what we are reading each week.

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I was in the mood to read a rock star romance and I turned to the author of a series I love, Kylie Scott. Her Stage Dive series was a lot of fun and very well written so I thought I’d start on the spin-off Dirty. I really enjoyed these characters and the story that was much more character driven than rock star drive.

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I am about a third of the way in on this ARC I received for Sari not Sari and I am loving this debut author’s writing style!

What books are on your nightstand waiting for you to finish working and get back to reading?

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (3/21/22)

Isn’t it awesome when you have a bunch of free time and can read just any ol’ thing you want? I’ve been going through my library wishlist and checking out what sounds good as well as taking a look at what’s been on my Kindle and have read through a few great books over the last week. It’s been so fun!

Thanks again to Book Date for starting this conversation and allowing us all to share what we’re reading.

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I saw this book on a Goodreads list about great romances of 2022 and thought I’d give this author a try. It’s the third book in the series but I didn’t miss not reading books 1 and 2. It was a different kind of historical novel that I actually really liked. I may go back and read the other two books!

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This book has been on my Kindle for over three years. I didn’t read it during the Pandemic because it’s about a virus that kills off a majority of the world’s population but I picked it up yesterday to give it another try. It is very Nora Roberts in writing style and it was easy to get interested. I’ll admit, it’s kind of weird reading about a deadly virus but I’m going to power through and see where this book leads me. I know it’s a three book series so I’ll make my decision later on whether I continue reading the other books.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think? If they aren’t books you’d see yourself reading, please share what’s on your coffee table.

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (3/7/22)

I think my re-watching of Bridgerton this weekend got a little bit in the way of my reading. I’m excited for the release later this month of Season 2! I watched it when it first came out and it’s funny what my brain remembered (not that much), and I forgot all the sex and naked chests. Wowie! I am now ready to see what season 2 brings. Despite that 8 or 9 hours of binge watching I did finish a contemporary romance by Meghan Quinn and started an oldie but goodie by Nora Roberts. Here’s the scoop.

*Thanks again to Book Date for starting this conversation!

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I’ll admit that this wasn’t my normal reading choice but I’ve read Meghan Quinn in the past and have found her stories have a sense of humor that I felt I needed this weekend. There were moments in this novel that were pretty funny and it was a quick read. Just what I was looking for.

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I was going through Nora Roberts books on my library app and there are so many of her romantic thrillers that I somehow skipped. High Noon came out in 2007 and so far it’s off to a great start.

Are there any shows that are keeping you from picking up that book you’ve been eyeing? This month there are a LOT of Netflix releases that I’m looking forward to and I bet you all have a few as well. Let’s hear them!

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb